Elements of US business (or as the Mob would say, “bidness”) present a clear and present danger to our hip pockets via the Unfair Trade Agreement (UTA), not to mention the Arctic ice cap and peace on earth. An exploration of the origins of their appalling behaviour is thus long overdue.
Mr (as he is soon to be) M. Hudson McHuge supplied the clue in a chat to barristers under the Tuscan sun last year. He said Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was America’s “builder” and Chief Justice John Marshall its “definer”.
I’d say organ grinder and monkey, but that’s a detail.
Hamilton (seen here), a barrister, believed that government by oligarchy would enable big business to build a great and powerful country. Perhaps inspired by England’s shamelessly corrupt Whigs, he advised a constitutional convention in 1787:
“The people … seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore [the rich and well-born] a distinct permanent share in government… Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy.”
Oligarchy was institutionalised in Article II Section 2 of the 1789 Constitution. It said the President, “with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint … public ministers”, including the Cabinet. Clever chappies can thus shuffle round a business/government revolving door for decades.
Donnie Rumsfeld, 73, has been on the shuffle for 48 years and Dickie Cheney, 64, for 36. When President G. Rudolph Ford gave Thojib Soeharto the OK to unlawfully use US weapons in his invasion of East Timor in 1975, Donnie was Secretary for War, as he is now, and Dickie was Rudie’s gatekeeper.
Article II also ensured that nominally powerful institutions are, to greater or less degree, little more than fronts for the oligarchy, e.g. Congress, the Supreme Court, the corporate media, even the Presidency: Ronnie before, Georgie now, Arnie to come.
Back in 1796, a grant of 35 million acres was cancelled on the ground that it had been procured by bribing everyone in sight, including Supreme Court Justice (1789-98) James Wilson. Corrupt investors obtained from Hamilton a lawyerly, if immoral, opinion that the cancellation was unconstitutional. A collusive test case, Fletcher v Peck, ground through the courts.
Hamilton, lawyer and gentleman, aimed high in a duel in 1804; Aaron Burr, lawyer, potted him in the tummy. Hamilton died but his opinion lived; in 1810, Marshall CJ, a former land speculator appointed by President John Adams in a court-stacking wheeze at “midnight” of the day he was to retire, dutifully parroted Hamilton’s line.
Marshall thus effectively defined the business of America as a business in which fraud, bribery, extortion, force etc. are acceptable, even necessary, tools.
It is thus logical, if unlawful, for the oligarchs’ Central Intelligence Agency to secretly subvert foreign leaders, e.g. in Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, who offend US businessmen. Prime Minister E. Gough Whitlam QC was probably not forgiven for stopping Australian agents doing the CIA’s dirty work in Chile.
The oligarchs’ acronym is MICE, the military industrial congressional establishment, aka the War Party. Hot quagmires and cold wars being good for bidness; nominal Presidents who annoy merchants of death do so at their peril.
J. Fitzgerald Kennedy had an exit strategy for Vietnam; he said that when he was re-elected in 1964, he would install a regime which would tell the US to leave. R. Milhous Nixon favoured detente. Both left office abruptly.
Thanks largely to R. Bruce Cheney (pic), whose rusted-on snarl inevitably recalls Boleslaw the Wrymouthed, Duke of Poland 1102-38, the MICE have never been in better shape. John Nichols, author of Dick, the Man Who Is President (New Press, 2004), said:
“As Secretary of Defense [1989-1993], he [Boleslaw] laid the groundwork for privatizing vast areas of the military. That … dramatically increased the number of private-sector firms that recognize that it is in their interest for this country to be constantly at war … they are not just pushing for a particular war, they are for war in general. Halliburton is just the worst example of a far greater crisis.”
Jack Kennedy’s nephew, Robert F. Kennedy Jnr, an environment lawyer and author of Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country (HarperCollins, 2004), told Corporate Crime Reporter last January:
“The Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt. They are accepting money from the same corporations. And of course, that is going to corrupt you. [Bush is] the most corrupt and immoral President that we have had in American history.”
The bidness heirs of Hamilton and Marshall thus regretfully but firmly insist on wars abroad and pollution at home. That is Wee Georgie’s excuse for unlawfully invading Iraq and rejecting the Kyoto Protocol.
What is Wee Jackie’s?